Studio WIT has had a phenomenal year in animation, and it continues with the gorgeously ethereal and dark fairytale The Girl From the Other Side. Originally a short film of Nagabe’s manga of the same name, this animated feature is directed by Yutaro Kubo and Satomi Maiya. Gothic in aesthetic and emotion, this stunning story comes to life with a beauty that is unmatched.
In The Girl From the Other Side, the world is divided into two distinct halves. There is the Inside, a safe city of humans, and a dense forest of the Outside. The humans in the Inside live under intense security, protected from the Outsiders who carry a curse. One touch and you turn, never to be allowed on the Inside again. But when a young girl named Shiva is found as the only survivor of a tragedy, a connection between the inside and the outside forms.
Found by the Outsiders, he cares for the child, making sure to keep her safe and not touch her. Shive names the Outsider Teacher and he assumes the role of her parent, creating a home for her in an abandoned village, as she reminds him in little moments about the life he once lived in the Inside. But the love and empathy that Teacher displays aren’t felt by the other Outsiders waiting in the woods.
To say that The Girl From the Other Side is beautiful is somehow an understatement. As a whole, you can feel each line crafted to create to work of art, unlike anything I’ve seen. In the characters’ designs, we see the visualization of their sharp differences which allows the story’s emotional weight of the two growing as a family all the more dynamic and moving.
Shiva is filled with curiosity and a willingness to love Teacher, to receive his kernels of wisdom but to teach him about a closeness he’s forgotten at the same time. Adorable and innocent, Shiva is like a fairy, ethereal in a dark forest, beaming with hope.
For his part, Teacher exudes a Gothic whimsy, the small white notes in his solid black design adding depth to his visual presence. Teacher is regal and warm, a testament to dialogue and subtle design elements that make this monstrous being seem more like a human than a beast. Teacher is a loving father, putting Shiva and her needs ahead of his own. But the love and growth don’t just go one way. In truth, Shiva teaches him about himself more than anything has in his life as an Outsider.
The Girl From the Other Side is a stunning visual feast with a story about how connections form through even the largest of perceived differences. Dark and magical, this is an animated film that captures the beautiful and somber elements of empathy. At just over an hour long, The Girl From the Other Side manages to tell a cohesive and emotionally resonant story without delving into unneeded exposition nor overstaying its hyper-stylized welcome. Beautiful in imagery and message The Girl From the Other Side is a triumph for studio WIT.
The Girl From the Other Side was screened at Fantasia International Film Festival 2022 and is available now on Crunchyroll.
The Girl From the Otherside
At just over an hour long, The Girl From the Other Side manages to tell a cohesive and emotionally resonant story without delving into unneeded exposition nor overstaying its hyper-stylized welcome. Beautiful in imagery and message The Girl From the Other Side is a triumph for studio WIT.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.